Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Nerdy Years (Part 4)
It was the end of 2006 season when I first saw Hulk in action. I had seen him be sitting in the stands while suspended for Consadole with a perm and and a brace on his teeth in an earlier game at Atsubetsu Stadium on TV. At the time there was a rumour that Verdy were interested in him and Ramos was going to make the move. I was sat with Mrs Nerdy, my daughter and about 15 other away supporters who had made the trip to the best place in the world to watch football by a mile ;Sapporo Dome. He still had the perm, would shoot from anywhere and was generally moaning to the ref, his teammates, anybody within earshot. I thought he`d be great for us. And for once I was bloody right.
Never have I seen a player so thoroughly carry the whole club as he did for Verdy in 2007. Goals galore, red cards, bookings a-plenty, toys thrown out the pram on many ocassions but best of all, raw excitement. When he got the ball, you knew something was going to happen. He`d bulldoze through a defence as if it wasn`t there and bladder the ball into row Z, or more often than anyone else in Japan, into the top corner. There were some who suggested his selfish attitude didn`t suit the J-League, well they are probably right but only because that kind of "lets be nice" bollocks died out with the advent of the crossbar and shorts that stopped coming down to the knees (first time round.....) in most other leagues. He didn`t suit the J-League because he was better than all the other strikers in either J1 or J2.
So he has been and gone and it was great while it lasted. Verdy have stumbled on since his departure and I very much doubt we will see his like again in Green. However, we at Tokyo Nerdy understand that players come and go, the seasons change, the wind blows the other way even if you turn your bike around and that Verdy will always be there. (unless they do eventually go bankrupt, in which case please dismiss the rest of this as complete arse).
They were there as I sat by myself on a sunny afternoon in May 2003 the day before I got married. Contemplating my future while watching another defeat. They were there replaying at 3.00 in the morning on NTV every weekend until I worked out how to connect the damn video to the TV before the advent of Sky TV in my house. The wife used to get up and watch too in those days. Wouldn`t even cross my mind to ask these days of course. The story is always there. Doesn`t matter in the long run whether they win or lose, following the story is the entertainment. The crisis that unfolded over this close season doesn`t seem surprising at all. There is usually something going wrong at Verdy. This is what makes them interesting, although they started off amazing they have always been next to useless during my tenure (Emperors Cup win aside). The underdog, the poor relation. the joke. We have hardly any supporters, the atmosphere at the stadium is awful (even with the microphones in front of the crowd.....)you`ll never see a wide angled camera shot on TV because it shows just how many empty seats there are. We have no players anyone has heard of, we just loaned out our top scorer of 2009, we had a womens team manager, we have no money, we have no shirt sponsor for the second season running, we have only 3 strikers one of which has been moonlighting as a defender...do I need to spell it out further??